The clinical behaviour service at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre provides consultation services for dogs, cats and other species including horses, birds, exotic animals and pocket pets.
Dr. Karen Machin, a resident in clinical behaviour, is available to meet with animal owners through appointments set up directly through the Small Animal Clinic or by referral.
All consultations (except for large animals not admitted to the hospital) are seen at the VMC.
Consultations cover a wide array of behavioural issues including:
- noise phobias
- separation distress
- sleep disorders
- house-soiling and urine marking
- excessive, repetitive and compulsive disorders
- resource guarding
Other consultations include:
- new introductions (such as a new baby or other pets)
- new pet consultations (problem prevention, setting up to succeed, reward-based training, and how to deal with emerging problems such as house-soiling, destruction, stealing and play biting)
- senior pet behavioural problems (including decreased awareness and disorientation, repetitive activities, anxiety and night waking)
A Veterinary behaviourist can diagnose medical conditions that can affect a pet’s behaviour, as well as treat conditions that are purely based on behaviour.
Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine have the medical and behavioural knowledge to evaluate cases and determine if there is a medical component. If needed, specialists can also select and prescribe medication as part of an integrated treatment program that includes behavioural modification plans.
Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine have the skills and knowledge to take detailed behavioural and medical histories, and develop a treatment plan based on the behavioural and medical information. Taking a good history and understanding relevant facts is essential to the role.
Veterinary behaviourists are licensed veterinarians who have graduated from a recognized college of veterinary medicine and completed at least one year of internship or primary care practice. They have also undergone additional behaviour-specific training which includes at least three years of case supervision by a board-certified specialist, publication of research and case reports, and a board examination.
For additional information, please visit the American College of Veterinary Behaviourists.
Preparing for a Consultation
- Completed questionnaires (by both you and your veterinarian) are required a minimum of four days before the appointment. The questionnaires provide background information to help make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan tailored to your pet’s specific needs.
- Please submit or bring any video or pictures of the problem and your environment, if available. Please do not capture videos when there is a risk to you, your pet, or other people and pets.
- Although space is somewhat limited, we suggest that you attend the consultation with your pet and up to two additional people who might be involved in the management and behaviour modification program (such as family members or trainers).
- Please do not feed your pet four to six hours before the consultation and bring along your pet's favourite treats.
- Initial behaviour appointments are two to three hours in length and follow-up appointments are one hour in length. Consultations include up to two months of telephone and email support for minor adjustments or modifications.
- Other consultations (such as new introductions, new pet consultations and senior pet behavioural problems) are one hour in length.
Click on the following links to view the owner questionnaires and medical history form (for referring veterinarians).
Please submit the relevant form(s) to email@example.com.
These detailed questionnaires provide essential background information that helps the veterinary behaviourist make a diagnosis and develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your pet’s specific needs.
What to Expect
Initial behaviour appointments are two to three hours in length and follow-up appointments are one hour in length. Consultations include up to two months of telephone and email support for minor adjustments or modifications.
Other consultations (such as new introductions, new pet consultations and senior pet behavioural problems) are one hour in length.
The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's clinical team members are dedicated, compassionate people with specialized training and a diverse range of experiences. In addition to providing our patients with high-quality care and support, we are helping to train Western Canada's next generation of veterinary professionals.
Appointments and Referrals
Contact us to make an appointment. If you are a new client, please click below to find information about our location, parking and what to expect during your animal's appointment.
Completed questionnaires (by both you and your veterinarian) are required a minimum of four days before the appointment. Please see above to access the owner questionnaires and medical history form (for referring veterinarians).
The questionnaires provide background information to help make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan tailored to your pet’s specific needs.
Submit an online referral form.
- Please inform your client that they need to complete and submit an owner questionnaire (see above) to the VMC Clinical Behaviour Service at least four days before an appointment or consultation.
- As the referring veterinarian, please complete and submit a medical history form to the VMC Clinical Behaviour Service at least four days before an appointment or consultation.
- Clinical Behaviour Service email: firstname.lastname@example.org.